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The Killers (1946)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 30 August 1946 (USA)
Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Lilly Harmon Lubinsky
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Charles D. Brown ...
Packy Robinson - Ole's Manager
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Al
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Max
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Storyline

Two professional killers invade a small town and kill a gas station attendant, "the Swede," who's expecting them. Insurance investigator Reardon pursues the case against the orders of his boss, who considers it trivial. Weaving together threads of the Swede's life, Reardon uncovers a complex tale of treachery and crime, all linked with gorgeous, mysterious Kitty Collins. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Taglines:

She's a match for any mobster! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

30 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the name of the character played by Burt Lancaster is pronounced "Anderson", it is properly spelled (as in Ernest Hemingway's original story) as "Andreson". See more »

Goofs

There were several errors involving the firearms used. When Burt robs his cohorts, the gun is obviously not real, probably rubber, because the barrel is pointed downward from the frame. If he were to shoot at someone's chest, the bullet would probably hit below the belt. When Edmond O'Brien is holding his pistol at the bad guy, he says it is a .45, but a trained eye can see that it is either a .32 or .380, most likely of Spanish origin. When Edmond asks Sam Levine if he has another .45 for him, Levine says yes, but the gun turns out to be a .38 revolver instead. See more »

Quotes

Jim Reardon: She took a powder. The dough went with her.
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Connections

Version of The Killers (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

The More I Know of Love
(1946)
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics Jack Brooks
Performed by Ava Gardner (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Fantasia On a Theme By Ernest Hemingway
6 October 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

This is a beautifully made improvisation on a Hemingway story that screenwriters Tony Veiller, John Huston and Richard Brooks, along with director Robert Siodmak, have somehow turned into baroque film noir. The movie starts out with a couple of hired gunmen looking for a character named Swede in a small New Jersey town. They tie up some people they encounter in a diner where they expect the Swede to be, then go and look for him, as he has not turned up at his usual time. A young man they tied up breaks loose and goes and warns the Swede, who thanks him but does nothing, remaining in bed, smoking a cigarette, waiting for the killers to show, which in time they do. The rest of the movie is an exploration, conducted by an insurance investigator, into the murky issue of why the Swede allowed himself to be murdered, and who ordered the killing in the first place.

I can't say the movie's exploration of the Swede's character runs deep, or even that it's satisfactory in its psychology. It works so well because it's excellently written, photographed (by Woody Bredell), and acted (by Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien and Albert Dekker, among many others), and consists of flashbacks, and in some cases flashbacks within flashbacks, as its labyrinthine plot, full of double crosses and unexpected turns, drives the film with a relentless urgency that in the end has less to do with psychology than the workings of fate. There is an overwhelming feeling in this film that people behave the way they do because they are driven by forces they cannot understand. In this sense the story in itself is, as presented, shallow and depressing, and yet the movie is so well-crafted, with the action at times seeming to be choreographed, that the end result is akin to an existential roller-coaster ride, if not much to think about.




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